All five of the Labour leader candidates have signed up to the Board of Deputies’ undemocratic, divisive and damaging list of pledges.
Once we all flocked to the Labour Party inspired by Corbyn’s pledges to renationalise public services, end austerity and build council homes. Now the right-wing Board of Deputies which has absolutely nothing to do with the Labour movement is writing our pledges for us and the Corbyn successor candidate has already signed up to them.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews is a self-appointed organisation who represent only a proportion Jews in the UK, believed to be composed mostly of Conservative voters it has released a list of 10 pledges, in fact, demands, its members claim Labour must support they say “in order to begin healing its relationship with the Jewish community”.
How far the Labour Party are willing to bend can be seen in how far the Leadership contenders have relinquished Labour Party responsibility, democracy, policy and liberty, these five Leadership contenders have travelled from Corbyn’s 10 pledges of social and socialist change to 10 damaging pledges from an outside religious organisation.
While writing this in no way do I detract from the importance of condemning and stopping any bigotry, racism, Islamophobia or antisemitism within the Labour Party or anywhere else for that matter. However, the Labour Party is the Party that has been at the forefront of this very fight since its conception. The Labour Party is the Party responsible for putting into British Law the very Human rights we all hold so dear and this Labour Party is fully capable of implementing its own rules and procedures.
The Labour Party does not lack in morals know-how and practical ability, it is not outside it’s reach to contend with and implement rules and procedures on any issue. If the Party is willing to outsource its policy on antisemitism Should we be contracting out on other policy issues, maybe foreign policy? No, not foreign policy it seems the BOD has that one covered in their pledges.
Maybe we should now take on ten pledges from the Saudi’s or even the Russians? Maybe Trump would like to send over a very ‘special’ list that we can adopt one that suggests we do not criticise US foreign policy, one that would bring about automatic expulsion from the Party if a member suggests War profits company what about making it a conspiracy to say the US industrial arms complex profits from war? That would benefit all parties for sure.
What about other religions and their affiliated organisations? We should not be a Party that discriminates, we must expect the Muslim council of Great Britain to present and have their ten pledges adopted? The Hindus Sikhs and Buddhist must also be fully respected. In the rush to appease one group a ‘Can of worms springs to mind’.
Our own sense of justice and values should not be cast to one side in order to appease and adopt an outside organisations concept of how to deal with antisemitism or any other issue. Both Sir Keir Starmer and Lady Nugee (Emily Thornberry) are Barristers, Rebecca Long-Bailey is a solicitor by trade. We have Baroness Sharmishta “Shami” Chakrabarti, barrister, and human rights activist. She served as the director of Liberty, an advocacy group which promotes civil liberties and human rights. If they cannot come up with workable rules and procedures for the Labour party to adopt, it beggars belief or it just plain stupid. Then, of course, there is Lord Falconer another Barrister and former Secretary of State for Justice.
The Labour Party is not some poor political organisation in either talent or wealth, it overflows with both. The Labour Party is a very profitable organisation worth millions with 500k members and a constant stream of donations. The Party could afford to hire the best Human rights lawyers in the world to help and advice on this very serious issue.
Members have no objection to outside advisers expressing their views or even special commissions being set up to deal with any forms of discrimination, bigotry, Islamophobia or antisemitism.
Members have no issue with procedures being implemented to see a fair and just outcome within the British framework of presumption of innocence the legal principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty implemented as any organisation would employ. We do want to see due process, we do want to see the very real rights of all British people to be able to defend themselves in any tribunal or court in the land including disciplinary hearings carried out by political organisations and Parties.
But no, instead we see a complete sell out by the future leadership who have committed themselves to adopt these ten pledges without due process bypassing the democratic principle of putting it to the membership or even the NEC. This leaves the membership wide open to abuse from an outside organisation. This brings to mind the very poignant words of Tony Benn.
“If the Labour Party could be bullied or persuaded to denounce its Marxist, the media -having tasted Blood- would demand next that it expelled all its Socialist and reunited the remaining Labour Party with the SDP to form a harmless alternative to the Conservatives, which could then be allowed to take office now and then when the Conservatives fell out of favour with the public.
Thus British Capitalism, it is argued, will be made safe forever, and socialism would be squeezed of the National agenda.
But if such a strategy were to succeed… it would in fact profoundly endanger British society. For it would open up the danger of a swing to the far-right, as we have seen in Europe over the last 50 years.” -Tony Benn
Some of the BoD’s demands are particularly toxic.
Outsourcing of disciplinary processes
The BoD states that the Party must outsource ‘all complaints’ to ‘an independent provider’. Presumably this ‘independent provider’ will have to meet with the approval of the BoD. It is hard to imagine any political party handing its internal disciplinary processes over to an outside body, yet this is what the leadership candidates have enthusiastically signed up to. We can imagine the media storm had the Tory Party agreed to outsource its handling of Islamophobia complaints to the Muslim Council of Britain – yet the media are predictably sanguine about the BoD’s proposal.
BoD oversight of disciplinary cases
Following on from the above, the BoD is demanding that ‘Jewish representative bodies’ – including, one assumes, the BoD – should be ‘given the right to regular, detailed case updates’. Again, this is unprecedented; breaking every principle of confidentiality and natural justice. It would secure, as a principle, ongoing outside interference in an independent political party. No socialist or labour movement organisation can or should brook such meddling.
Key affected parties to complaints, including Jewish representative bodies, should be given the right to regular, detailed case updates, on the understanding of confidentiality.”
This is a demand for access to confidential information about party members to be provided to people from outside organisations who may belong to organisations that oppose the Labour Party.
No readmittance of ‘prominent offenders’
The BoD insist that what they term ‘prominent offenders’ – and they specifically name Jewish socialist Jackie Walker alongside Ken Livingtone as examples- should never be readmitted to the Party. Once expelled, in a process controlled by a non-labour movement body, there would be no possibility of rejoining, or – presumably – of having one’s case reviewed. Again, this proposal breaches every principle of common sense, as well as running counter to the demands of natural justice.
The pro-Israel JLM must oversee education on antisemitism
In another telling demand, the BoD insists that the aggresively pro-Israel JLM (Jewish Labour Movement) must be given the franchise for the Party’s internal education on antisemitism. JLM places Israel and Zionism at the core of its work, and enshrines Zionism in its statement of principles. It does not, however, require that its members are either (a) Jewish, or indeed (b) members of the Labour Party. Handing antisemitism education over to them would mean finally accepting the conflation of antisemitism with criticism of the Israeli state.
Labour must engage with the Jewish community via ‘mainstream’ bodies
This is shorthand for arguing that dissenting voices from the Jewish community must be sidelined. The BoD is clearly determined to silence JVL and other pro-Corbyn organisations and individuals, both inside and outside the Labour Party.
Their demand reveals the BoD’s underlying agenda – that only Jews wedded to Zionist ideology will be considered legitimate from now on. Any Jews failing to dance to the BoD’s tune will be placed firmly beyond the pale.
The BoD’s ten demands represent a wholly unprecedented abrogation of the democratic prerogatives of an independent political party by a lobby group that sees its interests as ineluctably tied to those of a foreign state.
It is worth remembering that the BoD, if it represents anything at all aside from a self-selecting ‘Jewish establishment’, actually represents far less than half of all Jews in the UK. But it does represent – effectively, aggressively and remorselessly – that section of the Jewish community which identifies more or less uncritically with the Israeli state.
The BoD certainly doesn’t have anything to do with socialism. While foregrounding the issue of antisemitism, it has been remarkably coy when it comes to flagging up other forms of racism, let alone the social injustices of Tory Britain. That this hostile body should be given a prominent – if not dominant – voice in the internal affairs of the Labour Party beggars belief.
The fact that the main leadership contenders have caved in so swiftly to the BoD’s demands is a sobering reminder of how great a struggle we face, both inside and outside the Labour Party, when it comes to resisting the agenda of the Israel lobby and the conservative establishment.
In the past, Labour leaders have waited till they’re in office to betray the principles of the people they claim to represent. This time they’ve got their betrayal in early. At least we know where we stand.
Agendas and Partisan players
Anyone that suggest this is a non-partisan move by the Board of Deputies need only look at the video that was realised this Christmas by Joe Glasman, Head of Political and Government Investigations for the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) films himself making an admission that there has indeed been a coordinated effort to interfere with British democracy in order to stop Jeremy Corbyn from becoming Prime Minister.
A Guest Post by Deborah Maccoby on the Norman Finkelstein Blog goes on to say:
CORBYNISM AND CHANUKAH: A RESPONSE TO JOE GLASMAN
The triumphal Facebook video celebrating the election result that was made by Joe Glasman, Director of Political Investigations at the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) only confirms what we all knew already: what a coordinated, orchestrated effort the non-stop, virulent smear campaign against Corbyn has been: “every single day, we all rolled up our sleeves and fought for the same cause…..you all had a natural and unshakeable moral understanding of what needed to be done”.
Jewish communal organisations, non-Jewish celebrity novelists like J.K. Rowling or Robert Harris, right-wing Labour MPs, the Tory press, left-leaning, liberal media like the Guardian and the New Statesman – all these disparate groups were united by the need to preserve middle-class interests against the threat of a genuinely radical and transformative Socialist government. In terms of middle-class liberals (of whom Glasman certainly isn’t one), Yanis Varoufakis has pointed out “the great 2019 British paradox” that the Labour Manifesto was “uniquely tailored to the concerns of Britain’s so-called middle ground” – climate change, equality, poverty, the NHS — and yet middle-class liberals had never been so hostile to Corbyn. Varoufakis also comments that “soon after Corbyn became leader, I warned that a huge campaign of character assassination was inevitable”.
Of course, the Jewish groups who led the campaign were motivated by fear that Corbyn, if he became Prime Minister, would push for the end of the Occupation and for a genuine two-state solution in Israel/Palestine; but even more than this, they fought to prevent a Socialist government.
The Labour Party are now in thrall of not just the Board of Deputies but everyone and anyone.
Sir Keir Starmer tweet of capitulation.
The Labour Party’s handling of antisemitism has been completely unacceptable. It has caused deep distress for the Jewish community, which we must all accept responsibility for and apologise.
I support the recommendations put forward by the Board of Deputies. https://t.co/ONzhibmaqS
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) 12 January 2020
If the Labour Party with all its former Barristers now MP’s along with its machinery, rules, campaigners and history cannot get its own house in order then it will be more than just the ‘Red wall’ of its Labour Heartlands it loses, the membership will be next.